Trip Diary

Manuela Andrade

United States, August 6 2012 to June 16 2013

Welcome to My Adventure

Here you will find some facts, pictures and links related to my experience this year in the United States. I hope you enjoy and can find it useful if you are looking for some information.

Highway 50 routeOh, yes! I am brazilian and I'm really proud of it.

Here you will be able to see a little bit about my experience in the United States and also get to know more about my home country.

I think it's part of my experience as an exchange studant to learn more about the host country culture and also share my own.

To start I would like to say how lucky I feel for been alocated in Washington State and be able to study at Highline Community College.

This place has a great diversity that makes me feel like home.  I was able to meet people from all over the world. Cultures that I had only knew through TV or internet, that doesn't show the reality. Altough this was my first time out of my country, I feel like I visit Turkey, Costa Rica, South Africa, Mexico, Indonisia, Kenya, Pakistan and a lot of other countries just by living wirth people from there.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” Bill Bryson

First Impressions and Cultural Shock

scootWashington State is such a beautiful place, at least when it's sunny. We got here in August 2012, it was a beautiful hot and sunny sumer. Everything seemed perfect. I can say that it's one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen until it started to rain.

I'm from the northeast of Brazil, that means extremely hot and suny weather. When it started to rain here, I felt completely out of place.

To make things worse cultural shock knocked on my door. I couldn't handle the food. It's is not healthy. Most of it is not organic, so even if you try to eat healthy things, they are still full of chemicals, you need to pay a lot more to have organic food, example: a cheeseburger in the college’s cafeteria is $2 while a salad is $6. That’s unfair.

I started to see America as  a place where people are always worried about time, running from one place to another and forgetting about real pleasures of life, like staying more time with your family, because they are too worried about making money.

 These impressions also have their good side, because of this way of life, I understood that people are encourage to pursue their dreams and learn to be independent since they are a child.

I still have the impression about this infinity search for money that makes the time here very valuable. But now I could see that not all the Americans are fat or cold, like I used to think. 

Americans also tend to think that everything is about them, that the rest of the world either love them or hate them, when in reality you guys are just one more like everyone else.

My experience here made me grow like never before. Personally, professionally, intelectually. Be submerged in a diferent culture is somenthing that I believe everyone should do in order to understand better what is really going on around us. I learn to understand and practice our patience.